Readers who find themselves liking the view through Colette’s purple-tinted contacts may well be disappointed by their...

TO BE PERFECTLY HONEST

A NOVEL BASED ON AN UNTRUE STORY

Sones returns to the Hollywood setting of her affecting verse novel One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies (2004) for this partially successful study in narrative unreliability.

Almost 16, Colette is not looking forward to summer, which she will spend babysitting her 7-year-old brother, Will, in San Luis Obispo, where their actress mother will be on location. In classically narcissistic fashion, their mother instantly hooks up with her co-star, so Colette spends even more time than she expected playing Hungry Hungry Totally Annoying Hippos with Will, who is credulity-stretchingly adorable (“your ath will be grath,” he mock-warns her). Things start looking up when gorgeous Connor, a motorcycle-riding local, bumps into Colette and Will at the farmers market. In seemingly no time, Colette and Connor have a hot-and-heavy flirtation going on around the babysitting. Sones again employs the verse form that has served her well in the past, the one- and occasionally two-page poems keeping pages flipping. Colette is “a big fat / liar” who spins fib after fib, only to contradict it at the very beginning of the next poem. It’s a technique that works well as the characters and plot are becoming established, but readers may find it wearing as what was a frothy romance turns into a cautionary tale, one that leaves Colette sadder, wiser and less interesting.

Readers who find themselves liking the view through Colette’s purple-tinted contacts may well be disappointed by their removal . (Verse novel. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-689-87604-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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